Baby name theft: Mum-to-be's question sparks online debate

Baby name theft: Mum-to-be's question sparks online debate

“What’s in a name?” the famous question goes. However, the issue might not be so simple for expecting parents looking to name their newborn, as a woman proves after sharing her baby-naming dilemma.

The expectant mother, who was 39 weeks into her pregnancy, said she was toying with the idea of giving her future child a similar name to her friend’s newborn.

“I hadn’t decided my baby girl name to use but recently I love a particular name that happens to be very similar to hers (her daughter is Lillian and I like the name Lilia),” she wrote on Mumsnet forum.

“Do you think it would be unreasonable for me to use this name? She picked first and it’s not exactly a name I had my heart set on from the start so I worry it might ruffle some feathers!

“Can I get away with it as it’s slightly different or should I go back to the drawing board? Fingers crossed I have a boy and I won’t have to worry!”

The question has sparked a debate, with many advising the mum-to-be against ‘copying’ the name.

“I know no one owns a name but there are so many names out there and you already said you aren’t attached to the name and hadn't thought about it for long so it seems a bit like it’s causing drama when there is no need?” one commented.

“I think it’s too similar. By all means do it, but don’t expect your friend to be impressed or happy, be prepared for her to distance herself from you,” another wrote.

“I really wouldn’t if you value your friendship with this woman at all,” one added. “It’s not exactly the same name but it’s virtually identical … She might not openly admit it to you but I’d be very surprised if she wasn’t bothered and I think there will be some resentment there.”

Others suggested that she shouldn’t fret over the decision.

“She doesn’t own the name, it’s none of her business what you call your daughter therefore I’d always say go for it,” one wrote. “People who get precious about this clearly don’t have much going on so I’d really go with your first choice and tell her to get a grip if it was an issue!”

“I think, if you have your heart set on the name then you should just use it. Life’s too short to be pandering and worrying what others will think,” another said.

“Use it, she doesn’t own it. Multiple people have the same name in the world,” one chimed in.

Some advised the woman to check with her friend. “Names are not unique anyway. If you love it why don’t you ask your friend what she thinks?”

A few pointed out that the name Lilia is reminiscent of a sanitary towel brand. “If you weren’t too fussed about the name until recently then I would choose something else – purely from a sanitary towel point of view,” one suggested.

According to Linda Murray, global editor-in-chief of BabyCenter, offspring naming can be “tricky” due to its emotional nature.

“Parents spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming about their child’s name, and it’s one way they become attached to their child before they even meet him or her,” Murray told TODAY Parents.

“It’s an emotional process, so when you share your favourite baby name with someone and they ‘take’ your name, it feels like theft.”